Since 4K content has become more and more common lately, you are now looking for a 4K-capable camcorder that won’t break the bank. Both Panasonic HC-WXF991K vs HC-VX981K are highly viable options in this case. In addition to 4K recording, both of these camcorders also offer superior low light performance and cool features. So, which one is better?
Continue reading below to learn more about:
– The size and weight of each camcorder
– The features and capabilities of each camcorder
– The connectivity options available on each model
– The comparison of the recording quality between the two models
– Which 4K-capable camcorder that is generally more recommended
Let’s start from the physical dimensions of these camcorders. Well, in general, both Panasonic HC-WXF991K and Panasonic HC-VX981K are compact and lightweight camcorders that are suitable for various purposes, including documentary and amateur film projects – they may be a bit larger than Panasonic HC-V770 vs Sony AX33 in our previous discussion, but still quite portable. You won’t find any trouble when you need to bring either camcorder along in your trip.
Panasonic HC-WXF991K vs HC-WX981K is slightly bigger and heavier than its sibling here. It measures 2.677 inches wide, 6.417 inches long, and 3.071 inches tall. It weighs about 403 grams (0.888 lbs). The extra inches and pounds come from a few features that are only available on this model, such as the viewfinder and the secondary camera.
Panasonic HC-VX981K on the other hand, is a little bit smaller and lighter. It measures 2.559 inches wide, 5.472 inches long, and 2.874 inches tall, with a weight of approximately 351 grams (0.774 lbs). It can be smaller and lighter because there are a few features that aren’t present on this model.
Nevertheless, Panasonic HC-WXF991K and Panasonic HC-VX981K do have a similar overall design. They both come with a black finish that looks professional. The housing is mostly hard plastic, with some metallic parts here and there. There is a Leica Dicomar lens on the front of each unit, a tiltable display along with buttons and connectors on the left side, and a handle strap on the right side.
Display and Viewfinder
Perhaps the first difference between Panasonic HC-WXF991K vs HC-VX981K that most people notice right away is the viewfinder. WXF991K comes with a viewfinder, whereas VX981K doesn’t have one.
Panasonic HC-WXF991K features a 0.24-inch electronic viewfinder located on the rear of the unit. There is a soft eye cup that will allow you to maintain a comfortable position while using it. Even better, the viewfinder is connected to the camcorder through a mechanism that can be tilted up or down, so you can adjust the angle for the best shooting position.
The viewfinder has a resolution of 1,555,200 dots, which is really great. It provides incredibly sharp, accurate, and detailed images. Getting an ideal footage during the recording means that you only need minimum effort in the editing and post-production.
Panasonic HC-VX981K doesn’t have any viewfinder. If you never or rarely need to use a viewfinder, the lack of a viewfinder is not a problem. Casual users usually prefer to use a regular display screen instead of a viewfinder because it is simpler and more practical to use. But experienced and professional users typically prefer a good viewfinder for better framing.
Howsoever, the display screens on Panasonic HC-WXF991K and Panasonic HC-VX981K are identical. They each come with a 3.0-inch Wide LCD monitor, which has a resolution of 460,800 dots. The LCD is also equipped with a touchscreen panel for easy control. You can quickly access various features and settings via the responsive and intuitive touchscreen.
If you don’t like going through multiple menu screens to access common settings like focus and brightness, don’t worry. Each camcorder here also comes with a manual dial, which you can find on the left side under the main lens. This manual dial will allow you to quickly adjust the focus, sharpness, shutter speed, white balance, and brightness. It is really practical and useful.
The next difference between Panasonic HC-WXF991K vs HC-VX981K is the ability to capture multi-scene videos. Well, both camcorders here are able to do that. The difference is, HC-WXF991K can do that by itself, whereas HC-VX981K needs to be connected to a mobile device to do that.
Panasonic HC-WXF991K actually has two cameras. In addition to the main camera with the Leica Dicomar lens, there is a secondary camera in front of the display panel (on the far edge if you haven’t noticed it yet). You can use the secondary camera to capture a scene at a slightly different angle.
Is the secondary camera really useful? It depends. In some cases where you need a side view of the subject, it can be very useful. This secondary camera can simplify your set-up. However, in other cases where the second scene needs to be at a totally different angle, you still need a different unit altogether.
Of course, Panasonic HC-WXF991K can still be connected wirelessly to smartphones to capture multi-scene videos. You can connect up to three smartphones to the camcorder at once. So, if you find that the built-in secondary camera can’t get to the angle that you want, you can always resort to using a smartphone.
Panasonic HC-VX981K does not have any secondary camera. There is just one main camera on the unit. If you don’t need the ability to capture multi-scene videos, this camcorder remains as a good choice.
Indeed, Panasonic HC-VX981K is still able to capture multi-scene videos when needed. To do that, you need to connect the unit to a smartphone via a wireless connection. You can then use the smartphone to capture a scene at a different angle. Like its sibling, you can connect up to three smartphones to Panasonic HC-VX981K for three sub-scenes shot at different angles.
Panasonic HC-WXF991K vs HC-VX981K work with the same lenses on their main cameras. It is a Leica Dicomar lens with an F value of F1.8-3.6 and a focal length of 4.08-81.6mm. The lens quality is really good. It is able to provide a maximum optical zoom of 20x.
Meanwhile, the secondary camera of Panasonic HC-WXF991K is a basic lens with an F value of F2.2 and a focal length of 3.54mm. Unfortunately, the secondary camera doesn’t have optical zoom, so it is rather useless when you need to shoot from a far distance.
Both camcorders come with the 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization. It combines an optical IS mechanism with sophisticated algorithms for the best performance. There are several different IS modes for different shooting conditions, including for wide-angle and tele shots, but you will definitely love the automatic IS mode. It can automatically select the most suitable IS mode for the given shooting condition. In use, it is highly effective for minimizing vibrations and blurs.
These two camcorders have similar connectivity options. First of all, they both have built-in 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi which will allow you to connect mobile devices for capturing multi-scene videos, remote control, or transferring files. The pairing process is simple and easy.
Each camcorder here also comes with a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port which also supports USB charging. There are standard AV and headphone connectors, and there is also a Micro HDMI port for monitoring on an external display.
Each camcorder indeed has a built-in microphone, but it can only do so much. In order to get high-quality audio, using a good external mic is highly recommended. Each camcorder here has a standard stereo mini microphone input for that.
Last but not least, each camcorder does have an accessory shoe, but it is a cold shoe rather than a hot shoe. In other words, the shoe doesn’t have a direct signal path or electricity path to the camera.
So, how is the recording quality of Panasonic HC-WXF991K and Panasonic HC-VX981K? As a matter of fact, these two models are equipped with the same lens and image sensor. As the effect, you can expect them to have similar performance and recording quality.
The main camera uses a 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated MOS sensor, which has a total pixel count of 18.91MP. However, the effective pixels are only 8.29MP when shooting 4K videos and only 6.10MP when shooting Full HD videos.
Nevertheless, both Panasonic HC-WXF991K and Panasonic HC-VX981K offer impressive performance. They are able to capture 4K videos at 30p frame rate and 72Mbps bitrate. The images are sharp and detailed, the movements are fairly smooth, and the colors are solid and accurate.
Both camcorders are also able to capture Full HD videos at 60p frame rate and 50Mbps bitrate. Their Full HD videos are really great. The movements are very smooth and fluid. All in all, you can say that Panasonic HC-WXF991K and Panasonic HC-VX981K are good 4K camcorders, and at the same time they are also great Full HD camcorders.
Panasonic HC-WXF991K vs HC-VX981K
In general, Panasonic HC-WXF991K is more recommended. It comes with a better feature set. The electronic viewfinder is very useful for better framing. In addition, it has a secondary camera which can be handy for multi-scene videos. The recording quality is great. It can record 4K videos at 30p and Full HD videos at 60p.